With this installment in our Hardwood Flooring Types Blog Series, we’ll be exploring the ins and outs of oak. What makes it a reliably gorgeous and sturdy choice? What applications is it best for? What advantages and drawbacks are coupled with oak floors? Read on!
Picture a hardwood floor. What do you see?
Perhaps rustic, naturally creamy brown planks etched deep with a beautiful grain pattern and finished to glossy perfection…calling out to you to put on your favorite pair of socks and take a slide across.
Yeah. Wood floors are gorgeous, not to mention timeless. Hardwood flooring has a certain appeal that other flooring materials simply cannot conjure.
Still, many homeowners (whether just building their home or in the thick of a remodel) are dizzied by the sheer amount of hardwood flooring options on the market. Here in the Denver Dustless Hardwood Flooring Showroom, we meet countless homeowners who are torn between one kind of hardwood or another. It’s a tough call!
Not to worry:
We’re here with a brand new blog series on the ins and outs of common hardwood flooring varieties. We have put in the research so you don’t have to. In the coming months, we’ll be providing a full analysis of each of the main types of hardwood, their glories and drawbacks, their budget-friendliness, their sustainability, and any other important factoids that may be the clincher on your decision between one hardwood and another. We’re kicking off with a centuries old crowd-pleaser.
Oak Hardwood Floors
The all-time favorite hardwood on the market is oak, and Denver homeowners are no exception. We don’t blame them! Time has proven oak as a fabulous flooring choice.
Oak flooring is broken down into two main categories: Red Oak and White Oak. Here are the key differences…
Red Oak Wood Flooring
Red oak is the most popular flooring choice. It features rosy, pinkish undertones giving it that traditional warmth. The grain on red oak is medium to heavy and features more variation in the grain patterns.
The pink tones found in red oak hardwood are best highlighted by darker stains. Generally, the colors on one plank of red oak wood tend to vary more than the typically more even toned white oak. Red oak is the famous ‘industry standard’ wood because of its widespread availability, making it more cost-effective and sustainable choice for your next flooring project.
White Oak Wood Flooring
White oak flooring is characterized by a more grayish-brown almost opaque tone. Its grain lines are linear, creating less-busy grain patterns. Generally speaking, white oak flooring takes stain more evenly. The yellowed tones of white oak pair nicely with lighter colored stains.
As a slightly harder wood than red oak, white oak can have an edge when it comes to durability. White oak is normally less busy looking and more resistant to rotting and decay.
Here are just a few reasons why oak (whether Red or White) makes a classically excellent hardwood flooring material as well as just a couple minor cons to consider.
Advantages of Oak
Cozy Character – Oak hardwood flooring adds a special kind of warmth to a room, making it easy on the eyes and ultra-inviting.
Massively Popular – Because of its traditional popularity, installing an oak floor is a great option for anyone looking to resell down the road. Hardwood flooring adds significant resale value, making it a worthy investment.
Stability – Oak is a stable hardwood, meaning that in areas with humidity and varying moisture levels like here in Denver, the wood will expand and contract less than some other hardwoods. Stable hardwood equates to long-lasting, durable hardwood.
Stained to Perfection – Oak is known for taking easy to stains. This adds to the versatility of oak enabling it to match any styling aesthetic in a home. Depending on the stain of your choice, your floors could be a beachy beige, an ultra-modern gray or even coffee dark. The options are virtually endless!
Hides Ware and Tear – The busy grain pattern of oak floor planks work to conceal dings and scratches more easily than some other hardwoods. Due to its durability, oak is a sensible flooring choice for high-traffic areas in homes and especially for homeowners with kids and pets.
Rot-Resistant – White oak is especially rot-resistant, even allowing for outdoor use. The natural properties of oak make it resistant to insects and fungus, which at times pose a threat to other kinds of hardwood. Due to these characteristics, oak is a long-lasting option that can even last a lifetime.
Disadvantages of Oak
Too Mainstream? – Some modern homeowners are turned off by the idea of installing a widely popular and more commonplace flooring material such as oak. If you are looking for something unique, one-of-a-kind, or funky fresh, oak flooring is not likely to be your top choice. That being said, new trends in distressed oak and custom staining methods could take a simple oak floor and flip it into your dream floor.
Softer Than Some – Oak does not rank as high on Janka Scale as some other hardwoods. Translation: oak is bit softer than some other hardwoods on the market, such as walnut or mahogany, which could make oak more susceptible to damage. Still, red oak is widely viewed as the industry standard of hardwood flooring, and a bit of a mid-range bench mark for comparing the hardness of other woods. Oak remains a top-quality choice.
Noisy – As with many hardwoods, oak floors can be a bit creaky under foot traffic. If you’re looking to minimize floor sounds (for example, you live in a second floor apartment), the noisier quality of oak could be a factor worth considering. Typically though, a simple throw rug strategically placed in high traffic areas is enough to muffle any floor creakiness.
Price Range of Oak Flooring
When compared with other hardwoods, oak flooring is quite affordable. Oak hardwood is generally less expensive than hickory or maple, for example.
If you’re looking for a high-quality yet budget-friendly hardwood, oak may be just what you are looking for. Of course, any hardwood will still typically be more costly than other flooring materials such as carpet or laminate. However, the quality and lifespan of hardwood makes it a smart investment that pays for itself over time and adds value to a home.
Origins and Sustainability of Oak Hardwood
According to the American Hardwood Export Council, red oak is “widespread throughout Eastern USA. The oaks are by far the largest species group growing in the Eastern hardwood forests. Red oaks grow more abundantly than the white oaks.”
As with any hardwood floor, wood remains an eco-friendly choice due to its sustainability and potential to be recycled down the road. Countless oak hardwood floors have been reclaimed and repurposed. Oak hardwood floors can last for decades, even generations, whereas other non-recyclable flooring options, such as carpet, typically need to be replaced each decade.
Denver Dustless is committed to providing gorgeous wood floors for homeowners across Denver without compromising the sustainability standards set forth by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) who carry the motto “forests for all forever”. Your Denver Dustless oak hardwood floor is sure to be responsibly sourced.
Finding the Oak Floor for You
Denver Dustless has wide variety of both Red Oak and White Oak hardwood flooring. Our Hardwood Flooring Showroom experts will happily help you locate the precise wood you are looking for.
Make an appointment to come see our massive hardwood selection. We look forward to meeting you and answering any questions you may have left about oak flooring!
Stay tuned for our next edition of our new blog series on hardwood varieties. Next up? Pine! Coming soon!